RTCS

Energy

Return to Common Sense

January 12, 2014

Section: Domestic – Energy

The obstacles to rational power generation in this country are political, not scientific or technical, so it is time to prioritize energy independence ahead of dubious and unaffordable environmental junk science to increase our petroleum supplies exploiting our extensive oil reserves and building new nuclear plants.

The best answer, while conservation is worthy in itself, is to try to make us independent of outside sources to the greatest extent possible for our energy.Ronald Reagan.

 

Philosophy (Background, Issues, Objectives):

Government oversees energy supply and demand.

o   Energy Security.

o   Nuclear security.

o   Scientific Discovery and innovation.

o   Environmental Responsibility.

o   Management Excellence.

Energy production has a number of sources, each with its own infrastructure requirements.

o   In 2010, the U.S. produces about half the oil it did in 1971.

o   Globe has consumed only one in a grand total of 12 to 16 trillion barrels underground.

o   Industry recovers an average of only 1 out of 3 barrels of conventional resources underground.

§  A 10% gain in extraction efficiency on a global scale will unlock 1.2 to 1.6 trillion barrels of extra resource – an additional 50 year supply at current consumption rates.

o   Unconventional sources include shale oil, tar sands, extra heavy oil.

§  There are about 3 trillion barrels of oil equivalent in the shale formations in the western U.S., about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.

§  Shale gas has been found mostly on private and state land.

§  Shale oil, on the other hand, has been found on federal land, requiring laborious federal permit applications.

o   Industry recovers much less than 1 out of 3 barrels of unconventional resources.

o   The untapped reserves are estimated up to 2.3 Trillion barrels, nearly three times the reserves held by the OPEC countries and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand, at today's levels -- for auto, truck, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil. 

§  The Bakken Fields in North and South Dakota - New drilling and oil recovery technology is making the capture of this oil feasible and some development is now underway.  It is estimated that there is at least 200 Billion barrels of oil in this region.  At a price of $100 per barrel the value of this find is $20 Trillion.

§  The Outer Continental shelf -  It is estimated that around 90 billion barrels of oil sit beneath the ocean bed 50 to 100 miles off the shore of the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts.  The value: $9 Trillion.

§  The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) -About 10 billion barrels are locked up here with a current value of $1 Trillion.

§  Tar Sands - Around 75 Billion barrels of oil could come from these areas which are similar to the Canadian tar sand fields and which now produce about 2 million barrels per day.  The value:  $7.5 Trillion

§  Oil Shale - This is the most massive area of potential oil production in the world with an estimated 1.5 Trillion barrel potential.  The technology necessary to extract this oil is now in place and being operated on a pilot project basis.  The value of this resource:  $150 Trillion

o   Most of our oil is imported from the Middle East and the rest of OPEC (25%).

§  In 2009 the U.S. imported 9,667,000 barrels per day (51% of oil consumed).

§  Iran’s exports of oil could dry up by 2015.

§  Mexico’s oil production peaked in 2004 and now is declining by 14% a year.

§  Russia’s oil production is increasing, but may be re-nationalized.

§  Venezuela oil production has been decreasing since 2001.

o   Domestic United States oil supplies about 40% of our energy.

§  In 2009 domestic production fell to 1.95 billion barrels per day.

§  Untapped U.S. reserves (oil shale, off shore, ANWR) are not being exploited due to federal environmental restrictions.

§  Majority of US offshore drilling is in central and western Gulf of Mexico.

Ø  3,200 of the roughly 3,700 offshore production platforms are in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ø  These oil production platforms off the Bayou state's coasts extracts 80% of the oil and 72% of the natural gas produced in the Continental U.S., without causing a single major oil spill in over half a century of this process.

Ø  Most of US refineries are in the Gulf Region also.

o   EPA regulatory and environmental policy restricts the building of additional refineries.

o   Environmental improvements have been made in coal fired plant pollution control.

o   Coal-Directed Chemical Loopback (CCDL) technology captures more than 99% of coal’s carbon dioxide emissions, virtually eliminating pollutants.

o   A Gas OPEC-like cartel, composed of non-democratic nations, is emerging. 

o   The United States has not licensed a nuclear project since 1976.

o   The Tennessee Valley Authority completed two reactors in the last six years using licenses originally issued in the 1970s.

o   Other major nuclear projects have been abandoned out of despair of ever gaining NRC approval.

o   Inventive engineers have adapted the small modular reactors we use in our submarines since the 1950s into commercial designs.

o   South Korea started building reactors in the 1990s, and now are the world’s leading provider of this technology.

o   France has 59 reactors and gets 75% of its electricity from splitting the atom, and have an excellent record of nuclear safety.

o   Japan got 33% of its electric power from nuclear and was one of the most advanced countries in developing the technology.

o   Russia now gets 17% of their electricity from nuclear and plan to raise it to 25% by 2030 with the construction of 38 new reactors.

o   China has 27 reactors under construction with dozens more in the planning stage, and decided to commercialize the first Integral Fast Breeder Reactor that burns any kind of nuclear fuel, eliminating nuclear waste problem.

o   Finland has implemented a comprehensive energy policy for nuclear energy use.

o   Biomass, including ethanol, provides 2.9% of energy.

o   Renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, ocean waves) generate less than 1% of energy.

o   Most of the best energy producing wind power areas are located far from population centers, requiring energy transport infrastructure.

o   The direct cost of energy subsidies to taxpayers is $18.6 billion per year.

o   Solar energy at $24.34 per megawatt-hour (MWh)

o   Wind power at $23.37 per MWh.

o   Ethanol and biofuels at $5.72 per MWh.

o   Nuclear power at $1.59 per MWh.

o   Hydroelectricity at $.67 per MWh.

o   Coal power at $.44 per MWh.

o   Gas and petroleum liquids at $.03 per MWh

o   Subsidies are provided by the federal government, provide a financial benefit with an identifiable federal budget impact, and are specifically targeted at energy market segments, and include:

§  Subsidies can take on various forms: direct payments, mandates, loan guarantees, and tax gimmicks.

§  Direct cash outlays to producers and consumers;

§  “Tax expenditures that reduce the tax liability of firms or individuals who take specified actions that affect energy production”;

§  Research and development expenditures to increase or improve the “efficiency of various energy consumption, production, transformation, and end-use technologies”;

§  Loans and loan guarantees for certain energy technologies; and

§  Expenditures for electricity programs for consumers in certain geographic regions of the country.

o   Coal – 49.0%.

o   Natural Gas – 20.0%.

o   Nuclear – 19.4%.

o   Hydroelectric – 7.0%.

o   Other renewable (wind, solar, biomass, etc.) – 2.4%.

o   Petroleum – 1.6%.

o   Other gases - .4%.

Energy is consumed for transportation, residential, commercial, and industry needs.

o   In 2009 the U.S. consumed 18.77 million barrels of oil per day.

o   In 2009 the U.S. consumed 8,997,000 barrels per day of gasoline.

o   97% of all transport in the U.S. is provided by a petroleum product, either gas or diesel.

Nuclear energy is a viable long term source of energy

o   Federal government assumed responsibility of disposing of spent nuclear fuel.

o   Government policies have discouraged the resumption of nuclear reprocessing efforts.

o   New plants would have to be in areas that are not currently linked with high-voltage (HV) transmission lines to major consumption centers and will require a rewiring of the country.

o   Gallup found 59% of Americans favor use of nuclear energy, with 27% strongly favoring.

o   Despite no safety issues in several decades, there remain concerns about safety of nuclear power plants.

·         Small modular reactors (SMRs) may offer key competitive advantage.

o   In terms of safety, SMRs are much easier to handle since temperatures do not reach the same level so there is minimal chance of overheating.

o   SMRs do not require huge containment structures, and some are being designed with a built-in containment.

o   Modular reactors can actually be buried, which more or less eliminates the possibility that even the worst-case accident could have any serious widespread consequences.

o   Modular units can be built at the factory and then shipped to the site by rail for final assembly, a huge cost saving.

o   SMRs can be added in small increments, and reactors in the 50-to-150-megawatt range will allow utilities to add power as needed at acceptable costs.

o   The construction of modular reactors presents the possibility that smaller nuclear "batteries" can be distributed across the electric grid, tucked into factories and urban locations, so that transmission costs can be minimized and efficient co-generation uses designed.

o   Since the steam can be captured and routed to heating or industrial purposes, SMR energy use can become almost twice as efficient.

·         Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) is renewable green nuclear technology.

o   Initially MSR was developed as a means to power aircraft due to compact size and relative safety.

o   MSR has no nuclear core or control rods and water is not needed to cool them in an emergency.

o   Decommissioned nuclear warheads may be used as fuel, providing ability to recycle stockpile of spent nuclear fuel.

o   When electrical demand is low, and MSR can shift gears to cost-effective electrolysis of water producing a green and renewable fuel: hydrogen.

Renewable Energy sources are not economically viable with today’s technology.

·         Denmark found that “no wind energy to speak of would exist if it had to compete on market terms.”

Ethanol is being oversold as an energy “silver bullet” solution that will not live up to expectations.

Methanol may offer a renewable source.

·       Methanol has been demonstrated as an automobile fuel replacement, achieving 40% better fuel economy with much lower emissions than gasoline.

·       Methanol can be cheaply produced from natural gas, coal, biomass, or trash.

·       Automobile flex-fuel requires passing the Open Fuel Standard (OFS) law.

Obama’s and green-energy supporters’ foray into venture capitalism ($13.6 billion) has not gone well, with many companies faltering soon after accepting federal funding (*denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy):

 

Principles:

Availability of energy at reasonable rates is critical to economic growth and stability.

Energy policy balance:

Nuclear Power Principles

  1. Avoid creating dependency-based vulnerability.
  2. Establish technological leadership across the spectrum of military, civilian, and commercial nuclear activities.
  3. Assure access to the components, capabilities, and materials necessary to build, operate, and maintain America’s nuclear power plants.
  4. Promote free trade as a central tenet of the global nuclear industry.
  5. Limit subsidies to the commercial nuclear industry.
  6. Recognize nuclear power as a clean and abundant energy source.
  7. Move beyond a Yucca-only approach to spent nuclear fuel.
  8. Recognize that nuclear weapons are not the result of peaceful nuclear energy programs.
  9. Modify international nuclear regimes to better manage a global nuclear renaissance.
  10. Pursue nuclear power programs that make the U.S. government work better.

 

Recommendations:

Short Term, Develop Comprehensive Energy Policy to allow free market to govern energy production and use.

Reduce Department of Energy budget to support only the core mission:

Withdraw the U.S. from the U.N. Agenda 21, freeing up U.S. land for resource development.

Eliminate all government subsidies on energy sources.

·         Promote fuel diversity to allow free market, not government regulation, to determine energy winners and losers.

Remove regulatory barriers to energy production, storage, and exploitation.

o   Remission EPA as economically driven Environmental Solutions Agency.

increase domestic energy supplies to lesson US dependence on imports and vulnerability to supply disruptions.

o   Employ federal funds to accelerate the development and deployment of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques.

o   Remove limitations to access to untapped domestic oil/gas energy production in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

§  Give coastal states federal royalty revenue sharing.

o   Remove limitations to access to untapped domestic oil/gas energy production in ANWR.

o   Exploit oil shale deposits in American West including National Parks.

o   Reduce regulatory and environmental restrictions to allow new production and new refineries to be built.

o   Develop and expand clean coal technologies, including carbon sequestration, gasification, and conversion to liquid fuels.

o   Streamline the permitting schedule from four years down to two or less and should be available for up to two construction permits per reactor design.

o   Amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to encourage development of a market-based management system for used nuclear fuel.

§  Expand the Yucca Mountain spent fuel repository to a rational, market based approach.

§  Encourage commercial reprocessing and recycling of spent nuclear fuel.

§  Create a Market for Waste Management Services to extract the Federal Government from direct participation in energy management.

o   Explore small modular reactors (SMRs) and provide consistent system for permitting this advanced technology with minimum paperwork and minimum regulatory costs.

o   Explore Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) technology for true renewable green nuclear energy.

Decrease energy usage with increased conservation and efficiency will complement increased production.

Invest judiciously in emerging energy technologies.

o   Repeal corn ethanol initiative as ineffective and disruptive to the food supply.

o   Require dual fuel capability vehicles that use both electric and auxiliary gasoline engine.

o   Invest in battery emerging technologies to extent the range of electric vehicles.

o   Exploit geothermal energy as a readily available, environment friendly alternative.

Long Term, Abolish federal Department of Energy as not covered under enumerated powers.

·         Eliminate Commercial Deployment and Technology Development ($3.04B).

o   Eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy ($2.3B).

o   Eliminate the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability ($113M).

o   Eliminate the Office of Fossil Energy ($428M).

o   Eliminate the Office of Nuclear Energy ($178M).

·         Eliminate the Office of Science ($1.42B).

o   Eliminate the energy Frontier Research Centers ($120M).

o   Eliminate Energy Information Hubs ($48M).

o   Eliminate the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) ($121M).

o   Eliminate the Basic Energy sciences ($287M).

o   Eliminate Biological and Environmental Research ($456.6M).

o   Eliminate Advanced Scientific Computing Research ($114M).

o   Eliminate Fusion Energy Sciences ($104M).

o   Eliminate High Energy Physics ($55M).

o   Eliminate Nuclear Physics ($104M).

o   Eliminate Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists Program ($14.5M).

·         Eliminate Advanced Research Projects Agency ($350M).

·         Eliminate the Power Marketing Administrations ($85M).

§  Abolish the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Privatize Tennessee Valley Authority ($8.5B).

Privatize Strategic Petroleum Reserve ($169M).

 

References:

Institute for Energy Research at http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/

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More Oil Drilling, Please” by Deroy Murdock dated April 18, 2008 published by National Review Online at http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGQyNjU0MDE5NzIyMzU1MmUyYmQ0OTM2ZDE3MGE5YTc= .

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Environmental Foolishness Has Made Nuclear Energy Radioactive” by Jack Spencer and Nick Loris dated June 23, 2008 published by Front Page Magazine at http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=7CB5042E-316B-47CF-AEED-732382FD7948 .

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Support for Nuclear Energy Inches Up to New High” by Jeffrey M. Jones dated March 20, 2009 published by Gallup at http://www.gallup.com/poll/117025/Support-Nuclear-Energy-Inches-New-High.aspx .

Three Mile Island and Chernobyl: What Went Wrong and Why Today’s Reactors Are Safe” by Jack Spencer and Nicolas D. Loris dated March 27, 2009 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2367.cfm .

If Not Yucca, Then Where for Waste?” by Max Schulz dated March 30, 2009 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=323304001162411 .

Fuel for Thought” by Halbert Fischel dated April 27, 2009 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/397txcrk.asp .

Offshore Oil Drilling: An Environmental Bonanza” by Humberto Fontova dated April 28, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/offshore_oil_drilling_an_envir.html .

Taking the hot air out of wind power” by Chris Bell dated July 2, 2009 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/taking_the_hot_air_out_of_wind.html .

So Much for ‘Energy Independence’” by Robert Bryce dated July 7, 2009 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://www.heritage.org/Research/tradeandeconomicfreedom/wm2524.cfm .

The Green Con Job” by Dustin Chambers and Dan Ervin dated January 13, 2010 published by The American Magazine at http://www.american.com/archive/2010/january/the-green-con-job .

Wind Energy’s Ghosts” by Andrew Walden dated February 15, 2010 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/wind_energys_ghosts_1.html .

The Big Wind-Power Cover-Up” dated March 12, 2010 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=527214 .

Department of Energy Proposed Spending Cuts” by Chris Edwards dated May 2010 published by Downsizing Government at http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/energy/spending-cuts .

Meeting America’s Energy and Environmental Needs” dated August 17, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2010/08/Meeting-America-s-Energy-and-Environmental-Needs .

Introducing Market Forces into Nuclear Waste Management Policy” by Jack Spencer dated August 31, 2010 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Testimony/Introducing-Market-Forces-into-Nuclear-Waste-Management-Policy .

To save the planet and the budget, cut energy off the dole” by Jeffrey Leonard dated January 14, 2011 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/13/AR2011011304994.html .

Here is how the ethanol subsidy is screwing Americans and corn consumers globally” by James Quinn dated January 16, 2011 published by International Business Times at http://www.ibtimes.com/art/services/print.php?articleid=101494 .

“Sen. Paul Proposes Serious Cuts” by Chris Edwards dated January 31, 2011 published by Cato Institute at http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/sen-rand-paul-proposes-serious-cuts .

A Big Future for Small Nuclear Reactors?” by Jack Spencer and Nicholas D. Loris dated February 2, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/02/A-Big-Future-for-Small-Nuclear-Reactors.

The Only Way Out for the American Economy” by Steve McCann dated March 4, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/03/the_only_way_out_for_the_ameri.html .

Oil Price Shocks and the Recession of 2011?” by Ronald Bailey dated March 8, 2011 published by Reason Magazine at http://reason.com/archives/2011/03/08/oil-price-shocks-and-the-reces .

America’s Last Nuclear Hope” by William Tucker dated March 2011 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2011/03/21/americas-last-nuclear-hope .

Department of Energy Spending cuts: A Guide to Trimming President Obama’s 2012 Budget Request” by Nicolas D. Loris dated April 18, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/04/Department-of-Energy-Spending-Cuts-A-Guide-to-Trimming-President-Obamas-2012-Budget-Request .

American Energy Freedom: The Basis for Economic Recovery” by Alexandra Liddy Bourne dated May 31, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2011/05/American-Energy-Freedom-The-Basis-for-Economic-Recovery .

The American Energy Initiative” by Jack Spencer dated June 7, 2011 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Testimony/2011/06/The-American-Energy-Initiative .

Why Free Market in Energy?” by Institute for Energy Research dated July 9, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/38314 .

Renewables Surpass Nuclear Energy: The Rest of the Story” by Institute for Energy Research dated July 12, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/38419 .

Federal Energy-Related Subsidies Have Increased 108 Percent in 3 Years; Wind Subsidies Increased 10-Fold” by Institute for Energy Research dated August 2, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39092 .

Federal Subsidies to Solar Up 626%, Subsidies to Wind Up 946%” by Andrew Herzog and Michael W. Chapman dated August 17, 2011 published by Cybercast News Service at http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/federal-subsidies-solar-626-subsidies-wi .

What Drives Gas Prices: Cartels, Speculators, or Supply and Demand?” by Kenneth P. Green dated August 26, 2011 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.aei.org/outlook/101074 .

“End Energy Subsidies, Jumpstart Tax Reform” by Dan Holler dated October 24, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/danholler/2011/10/24/end_energy_subsidies,_jumpstart_tax_reform .

Renewable Green Nuclear Energy: Here, Now” by Alan Aszkler and Stephen Tauriello dated February 15, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/renewable_green_nuclear_energy_here_now.html .

The High Cost of Clean Energy” by Michelle Hirsch dated March 8, 2012 published by The Fiscal Times at http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/03/08/Green-and-Wasteful-The-High-Cost-of-CleanEnergy.aspx .

Nuclear Since Fukushima” by William Tucker dated March 2012 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/archives/2012/03/12/nuclear-since-fukushima .

Department of Energy Budget Cuts: Time to End the Hidden Green Stimulus” dated March 23, 2012 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/03/department-of-energy-budget-cuts-time-to-end-the-hidden-green-stimulus .

Unconventional Energy Meets Conventional Politics: Which Will Win?” by Steven Hayward dated May 16, 2012 published by Real Clear Markets at http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2012/05/16/unconventional_energy_meets_conventional_politics_which_will_win_99670.html .

Legalize Methanol” by Robert Zubrin dated August 20, 2012 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/314369/legalize-methanol-robert-zubrin .

President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures” by Ashe Schow dated October 18, 2012 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/president-obamas-taxpayer-backed-green-energy-failures/ .

America’s Most Favored Industry” by Robert Bryce dated December 13, 2012 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/335512/america-s-most-favored-industry-robert-bryce .

Yucca Mountain: A Post-Mortem” by Adam J. White dated Fall 2012 published by The New Atlantis at http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/yucca-mountain-a-post-mortem .

Depending on Energy, Not Energy Independent” by Kenneth P. Green dated December 17, 2012 published by The American at http://www.american.com/archive/2012/december/depending-on-energy-not-energy-independent .

All the Coal, None of the Carbon – Almost” by Bob Beauprez dated February 25, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/bobbeauprez/2013/02/25/all-the-coal-none-of-the-carbon-almost-n1519548 .

Pass the Open Fuel Standard” by Robert Zubrin dated July 10, 2013 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/353030/pass-open-fuel-standard-robert-zubrin .

10 Programs to Eliminate in the January 2014 Spending Bill and Save $10.2 Billion” by Romina Boccia dated January 3, 2014 published by The Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/01/10-programs-to-eliminate-in-the-january-2014-spending-billand-save-102-billion .

 

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